Germany Hosts Summit on Peace, Politics in Libya

Leaders from 12 countries are meeting in Germany Sunday in hopes of laying a foundation for a lasting cease-fire between Libya’s rival governments.

German chancellor Angela Merkel invited the world leaders as well as representatives from the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union, and the Arab League to the summit Sunday.

Libya’s two main rival leaders — ex-general Khalifa Haftar and Fayez Sarraj  —were also present.

Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who support Haftar and Sarraj respectively, spoke before the summit on Sunday, with Erdogan calling for Haftar to abandon his “hostile attitude.”

Turkey and Russia helped broker a fragile cease-fire in Libya which took effect last week, but both sides have accused the other of breaking it.

One of the hopes of the summit is to curb continued foreign interference in the conflict.

“At the Libya conference, we must see above all that the arms embargo is once again complied with — it has been agreed in principle at U.N. level but unfortunately not kept to,” Merkel said ahead of the summit.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is also attending the summit. Prior to the start of the summit, he “emphasized the need for a lasting ceasefire, a return to a U.N.-facilitated political process, and the end of all foreign intervention in Libya,” spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said.

Rival governments led by Haftar and Sarraj have been battling for control of Libya in the years since the 2011 ouster and killing of the country’s longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi. Haftar’s forces seized the key Mediterranean port city of Sirte earlier this month, but the fight for the capital, Tripoli, has been stalled since April with hundreds of thousands of civilians caught in the middle.

Over 280 civilians and roughly 2,000 fighters have been killed and hundreds of thousands of Libyans displaced since the beginning of the offensive.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, greets United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres during arrivals for a conference on Libya at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosts the one-day conference of world powers on Sunday seeking to curb foreign military interference, solidify a cease-fire and help relaunch a political process to stop the chaos in the North African nation. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

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